When it comes to brewing Belgian beer, saisons are usually my go-to. In my experience saison yeast can usually work in a wide range of temperatures (low 70s to low 90s) and still generally produce pleasant, peppery esters that make for a really enjoyable beer. Other Belgian styles I’ve had more difficulty with – dubbles, blondes, etc., because I just can’t get the yeast do what I want. The final product usually come out overly ester-y, bubble-gum, banana, things that I wouldn’t mind in smaller quantities, but the “real-thing” from Belgium is much cleaner with a excellent biscuity malt component that shines through. This beer was one step closer to what I would call a “passable” homebrewed Belgian beer.
Appearance: Light brown to golden/amber. Excellent slight off-white head. Fairly hazy all the way to the end of the keg.
Aroma: Floral and banana esters with mild malt component, slight corn/off aroma occasionally.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a somewhat dry finish.
Flavor: Estery Belgian yeast is very evident followed by a fairly big malt body – crusty bread, slightly grainy. Hops provide bitterness to balance.
Overall: This recipe is a keeper – prominent biscuity malts are the front with moderate hopping to provide balance and bitterness. It’s getting closer, but I may have let the temperature raise up for too long. The first tasting of it before I raised the temp was much cleaner, and after I let it finish up at around 72F it had gotten overly ester-y. So next time I’ll just let it finish out at the lower temperature, however long that takes, with maybe only a day at the higher end. The corn-ish flavors/aroma may have been DMS from the pils malt and not having boiled long enough, although it was a very strong boil. Having it ferment out a little more would also be good, but I was in a hurry to get this carbed and ready for a party. It was well received, many people calling it a great summer beer.